With offices and employees spread across the globe, sometimes it takes time to get to know everyone. In our series ‘What The #&@$ Do You Do?!’ (WTFDYD), The Orchard highlights Orchardites from all over the world to learn more about their role at The Orchard and experience working in the music industry.
Tell us about what the *&^# you do, Oleg!
I am the Director of Russia, Ukraine and CIS countries (Commonwealth of Independent States) at The Orchard. I lead The Orchard team in Moscow covering the labels and the artists from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan as well as Georgia and Azerbaijan. I joined The Orchard in 2014 and I was the only person in the office. With all of the support from the international family at The Orchard, we grew the team to eight people and we keep growing our label and artist roster every month. We’ve grown so much that we’ve become one of the leading players in the territory.
How does your role/department fit into The Orchard?
My role stands more around business strategy and working closely with The Orchard international team to grow the business in the region. We work closely with local and international artists to make sure they are well presented on all of the DSPs in Russia, and provide boutique distribution and label services for our clients.
We help artists and labels build a transparent business in digital distribution and publishing administration. Through our leading technology and expertise, we build release strategies, indicate audiences, and find further ways to help them grow. I make it a point to work closely with The Orchard’s various departments to leverage our services, products and technology to create new opportunities – from retail marketing to tech, to publishing administration, synchronisation and legal.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love managing the relations with our beloved artists and labels. I always enjoy talking to them and discussing industry trends. There’s always so much to learn from them, as we work with the strongest professionals in the region. I like to help our partners achieve their goals while seeing the way they develop their businesses and grow their artists’ success. Working closely with labels and artists gives immeasurable creative and emotional motivation that you can’t compare with anything else.
What’s a campaign/project you are proud to have worked on?
I’m very proud of the campaign we did with Nina Kraviz and her single “Skyscrapers” around the EQUAL playlist on Spotify in which we secured Nina’s placement on the playlist cover. The Orchard teams in Moscow, Hamburg, London and New York helped to build this campaign in close partnership with Nina’s management team and Spotify. It was an exciting opportunity where we got to work something locally and achieve global reach.
How did you first get started in the music industry?
Going back to the ’00s, I’d attended underground parties in Moscow. In 2009, we booked a bunch of cult UK electronic underground artists including Skeam and JME, who are currently working with The Orchard. We did those parties in 16 Tons club, which is still one of the leading mid-size concert venues in the city. I was also DJing during those days, playing vinyl records and touring around Russia as a DJ.
Eventually, I started booking for other parties and venues, which introduced me to the corporate part of the industry. I started to work with international booking agencies working on contracts, budgets, etc. My first corporate job was at Dream Industries, at a service called Zvooq which is now Sberzvuk and part of the biggest bank in Russia called Sberbank, which is also a DSP partner of ours.
If you work in the music industry it’s like a circle – you’ll get in touch with your old friends and projects anyway, so you need to be smart about what you do.
What advice do you have for independent artists / those who want to break into the industry?
Every artist’s career develops differently – you can blow up after one track, you can disappear, or you can even become popular later in life. Either way, it doesn’t matter, you need to be prepared for that special moment in your life and be able to manage your new life. Being blinded by “making it big” can lead to some setbacks like losing your team, fans, and what is majorly important – your own style.
Owning and developing your own style and artistic message throughout your career is very important. That’s one of the most important aspects of building a long-term and established career. Speaking of the career, you need to look at your career as a business project. Don’t make any emotional decisions, build your career step by step, think about who you work with and what exact goals you are setting, and be professional.
What artist have you been listening to on repeat lately?
I’m really into electronic music including Chicago and Detroit house and techno sound. I also like hip-hop and R&B, music with funk and soul vibes, from Jorja Smith to Erykah Badu, to Yves Tumor and Prince. I am in absolute love with the band Altın Gün and have been listening to them on repeat for the last year or so. I also like to listen to grime classics like Skepta, Wiley, and Dizzie Rascal. I’ve also been listening to the French R&B star Ichon – he is amazing.
What’s your favorite thing about working at The Orchard?
You feel at home. It’s like you work with your family – in a good way! Everyone is ready and happy to help you and people really enjoy what they do. I have never seen such a great company culture anywhere. The whole family vibe is encouraging, it’s a great team to grow within and build a career with. I love The Orchard and all of the teams I work closely with in Hamburg, New York, London, Istanbul, Spain – much love to the guys and all other beloved teams around the world!
Favorite tradition at The Orchard?
I love and miss all of our meetups with the international teams, and of course, our Global Summit show in NYC at the end of the year. It’s really good to have a drink with colleagues around the world. I’m looking forward to being able to travel and see everybody’s faces in person again!
How do you discover new music?
I have two directions. The first is Spotify and other services recommendation platforms and building the radio stations around one track. The second, and my most beloved way, is record shopping around the world, where you can find some great pieces that have never been available digitally. I love buying records in New York, London, Paris, and Berlin. I have my favorite shops over there – my favorite one is A1 Record Shop in New York.
What’s something you’ve learned outside of work that helps you to be your best self at work?
Everything grows, stands, and develops through the relationships of the people you meet. I think that the relations between any group of people need to be honest, positive, and constructive. I don’t see any other recipe for building your career – personal relations or any type of relations in general – unless you have those principles.